May 11 2015
May 10 2015
So I had two beers on Saturday afternoon, but that was followed by a 15 minute leisurely bike ride, so I allowed myself to have one glass of white wine during the summer dinner in the hotel garden.
The wine was quite good so it would have been a shame to not have another glass. My single race was scheduled for 9:30 on Sunday morning and if I would go to bed early everything would be fine.
The waiter brought a third glass by accident (or perhaps on instructions from my local competitors) and I finished it as well.
End result: I didn’t sleep very well. Too much wine, too much good food and too warm in the hotel room.
Between 2am and 6am I was awake, trying to sleep, going over race scenarios over and over. I knew my Czech opponents and I knew I should be able to beat them. It would be a combined Masters B and C race, and I would only have to beat one C guy who I knew was easy to beat, but I really wanted to win the entire race.
I had just two cups of coffee and one slice of bread with ham for breakfast. Then we were off on our bikes to the race course. Did I say it is a quite nice ride along the lake shore? The frogs croaked, the cuckoo tried to lay its egg in someone else’s nest. Then we arrived at the race course.
During the warming up run I inspected the race course. Of course the organizers had put me in lane 1. At the start all lanes had a light tail wind ripple, except lane 1 which was shielded had mirror flat water. Combined with the slower river flow I had a real disadvantage.
First to boat was Lenka, who was to row her Junior B girls final in the single. She was so nervous, she was completely white.
She passed me with 300m to go when I was rowing to the start of my race. She was fighting for 5th place and seemed to win. In the end I heard she came in last. I think she had a great result anyway, qualifying for the finals and losing a real fight. She rowed 25 seconds faster than on Saturday and showed much better form. Also, the first three Junior B girls (15/16 year old) rowed faster than the Junior A girls (17/18).
My singles final followed one of the scenarios rehearsed at night. There were 5 of us at the start. I came out of the start in second position. Three rowers fell behind immediately and I was half a length behind Andrej, one of the two local Masters scullers. I kept the stroke rate at 34 and managed to pass Andrej at the point where my mirror flat water ended and I started to feel the tailwind as well.
At that point there was wake from one of the referee launches, and I managed to pass the wake better than Andrej, which gave me another 10 meters.
I rated down slightly and managed to slowly but steadily pull away.
The three other rowers and the referee launch were somewhere behind us in the distance.
Another set of waves send Andrej struggling and I gained even more.
Rated down to 29.
Now I was in front of the public, the final 250m. Listening to the speaker calling my lane I rowed towards the finish line.
Nice to win with a big margin, for a change. 🙂
Not long after I finished, Romana rowed the Women’s 2x race. Three boats at the start and Masters rower Romana, together with a 19 year old girl from our club, won with a boat length. They had to rate 33spm the entire race in order to win:
Now Lenka was the only rower in our family who didn’t have a medal. Her last chance was the Junior B girls double race in the afternoon.
Some pictures from Lenka and Laura in the double:
Romana was waiting for them at the 250m line and I was 50m before the finish. The girls had a good start but after 250m, two boats were clearly in the lead. With 250m to go they were fighting for third place. With 250m to go they managed to pass their opponents and row to third place. However, with 50m to go, they started to show bad form and quickly started to lose ground. In the end, they managed to hold their third place by a bow ball:
Laura is not smiling as much as she normally does. She threw up after the race and was still having difficulty standing up …
So we drove home with 6 medals … good weekend.
May 10 2015
Left Brno around 11am. We took the shorter but windy road to Uherske Hradiste, then up into the White Carpathian mountains, crossing the border pass and then down into Slovakia through some valleys with scattered cottages that could have been from a fairy-tale. Then we drove into the valley of the river Váh towards the spa town of Piešt’any on the banks of the river Váh, where the Open Slovak Rowing Championships would be held.
One has to understand that Slovakia is a proud but small rowing country. There are 5 clubs in total, but about 8 Czech clubs and one Austrian club were participating as well.
Each of us did a brief 30 minute row and then we were off to the hotel, which turned out to be a lovely place with great food, great wine and a garden terrace to dine. Also they gave us bicycles, on which we could bridge the 4km between the hotel and the race venue by a very pleasant bike ride along the lake.
A day full of races. First to go was our daughter Lenka who had to be third or better in her single to qualify for the final on Sunday. When I took her picture at the 500m point she was in fourth place but she managed to secure a place in the final.
I took the picture from the 500m because our son Dominik was already waiting for the start. Here he is in lane 2, at the moment of the start:
I wanted to cycle next to him on the bicycle, but after 10m the chain fell off, so I had to spend a minute to put it back on, then chase him on the bumpy path. The chain came off one more time, so I saw Dominik finish third only from the distance. Here is a picture of our bronze winner:
Then it was time for a quick lunch. At 13:55, the Masters quad was on the program. We had to wait for the 4- to finish (they came in 3rd place) to rig the boat with the quad riggers. A warming up run, and on the water.
The quad race was a 2 boat affair. Bratislava, the third contender, had withdrawn. They wanted to save energy between the 4- and the 8+ race. We had two guys in our quad who had already rowed the 4-, and so had our opponent, the local club Piešt’any. We were out of the starting block head to head with them. In the first 500m they managed to stay about half a length behind us, but then they started to fall behind.
My first Slovakian title. We each got a small “gold” medal and a bottle of “Schauma for grey hair” shampoo:
Two hours later we were launching the eight. We were up against Piešt’any proper in their best boat, against Bratislava who had withdrawn from the quad race to save energy for the eight, and us. In exchange for a liter of home-made Slivovice we were allowed to borrow their worse eight and two of their Masters rowers who hadn’t qualified for their proper eight.
We took our Junior sculler as a cox. He is taller than I and has a bit more than 55kg.
Of course the race organisers had put us in the slower lane 1, with less tailwind and less current.
Out of the starting blocks we were half a length behind and drifting into lane 2. We were almost clashing oars with Piešt’any when our cox finally managed to turn the boat. We got our stroke together in lane 1 proper and started to make some gains. I was in bow seat, and we were one man behind Piešt’any who were leading. Bratislava was half a boat length behind us.
Apparently the cox called three strong 10s during the race but I couldn’t hear anything. We were driving from one end of the lane to the other. I later heard that the rudder was almost impossible to control.
At the 500m mark we managed to pass Piešt’any and clear a boat length. With 250m to go we were a boat length and a bit in the lead but in lane 3, Bratislava was suddenly making quick gains.
We pulled hard for another 25 strokes. The cox managed to not park our eight in the bank and we managed to pass the finish line a second before Bratislava. The eight, our least expected win.
The Piešt’any crew took their loss very sportly. They accused their men who had rowed with us of not having fulfilled their secret mission to slow us down. Who knows … In the end they invited us for a beer, which became two beers.
Then we all cycled back to the hotel and had a great dinner in the garden.
May 8 2015
Meetings in Brussels. No training.
More meetings in Brussels. At 3pm, my old friend Arjan picked me up and we drove to Eindhoven, through rainstorms.
When we arrived at ERV Beatrix, my old club, the rain and wind had disappeared. The Eindhovens Kanaal was quiet as always. We took the club double that we always used to row in, adjusted the footstretchers and off we went.
We hadn’t rowed together in 7 years. The secret plan is to start in the C category at the Masters Worlds. First 2km warming up and drills. Then 4×12 minutes “L4” style:
| Dist_ | Time_ | _Pace__ | _SPM___ | avg HR | max HR | DPS | Remarks
| 04020 | 17:05 | 02:07.5 | 19.7 | 125 | 166 | 12.0 |
| 00450 | 02:00 | 02:13.3 | 18.1 | 137 | 155 | 12.4 |
| 00461 | 02:01 | 02:11.3 | 19.8 | 155 | 160 | 11.5 |
| 00481 | 02:00 | 02:04.8 | 20.9 | 158 | 161 | 11.5 |
| 00622 | 03:00 | 02:24.8 | 18.3 | 148 | 161 | 11.3 |
| 00456 | 02:00 | 02:11.7 | 19.6 | 150 | 159 | 11.6 |
| 00231 | 01:00 | 02:09.8 | 20.8 | 158 | 167 | 11.1 |
| 00240 | 00:59 | 02:03.0 | 21.9 | 165 | 169 | 11.1 |
| 00428 | 02:00 | 02:20.3 | 18.6 | 157 | 167 | 11.5 |
| 00451 | 02:01 | 02:14.1 | 20.0 | 153 | 164 | 11.2 |
| 00477 | 02:00 | 02:05.8 | 20.7 | 162 | 165 | 11.5 |
| 00646 | 03:00 | 02:19.4 | 19.1 | 155 | 163 | 11.3 |
| 00447 | 02:00 | 02:14.2 | 20.3 | 157 | 164 | 11.0 |
| 00065 | 01:00 | 07:44.1 | 12.4 | 155 | 160 | 05.2 |
| 00965 | 09:52 | 05:06.8 | 18.4 | 135 | 153 | 05.3 |
| 00419 | 01:59 | 02:22.1 | 20.3 | 148 | 154 | 10.4 |
| 00408 | 02:00 | 02:27.1 | 18.2 | 150 | 153 | 11.2 |
| 00441 | 02:01 | 02:17.1 | 19.1 | 151 | 163 | 11.5 |
| 00672 | 03:00 | 02:14.0 | 19.8 | 161 | 167 | 11.3 |
| 00431 | 02:00 | 02:19.1 | 18.3 | 151 | 158 | 11.8 |
| 00216 | 00:59 | 02:16.4 | 19.7 | 155 | 159 | 11.2 |
| 00220 | 01:01 | 02:18.9 | 19.8 | 156 | 158 | 10.9 |
| 00344 | 01:59 | 02:52.9 | 20.8 | 150 | 164 | 08.3 |
| 00412 | 02:01 | 02:26.9 | 18.2 | 149 | 157 | 11.2 |
| 00437 | 02:00 | 02:17.2 | 19.2 | 155 | 160 | 11.4 |
| 00524 | 03:00 | 02:51.7 | 21.1 | 160 | 169 | 08.3 |
| 00171 | 02:00 | 05:51.3 | 18.9 | 125 | 128 | 04.5 |
| 00152 | 01:00 | 03:16.9 | 19.7 | 122 | 127 | 07.7 |
| 02481 | 15:01 | 03:01.6 | 20.8 | 136 | 169 | 07.9 |
I guess the short summary is more useful:
It was good fun. Arjan remarked that he was feeling the zen of rowing again, so that made me happy. We discussed technique a lot and were working really hard and concentrated to get our strokes together.
What worked: We managed to get a nice swelling stroke and make the boat run. Arjan managed to time the finish better with me.
What didn’t work: We didn’t stick to the prescribed stroke rates. Instead, they tended to drift up by 1 or 2 spm. Sloppy tap-downs were not solved successfully. He didn’t pay me 1200 EURO for a successful rowing clinic. May not become a rich freelance rowing trainer. 🙂
What I would do differently next time: Nothing I can think of now!
I was scared by how narrow the Eindhovens Kanaal is. I guess I have really become a lake dweller:
Then we drove to his home in Weert, picked up some Chinese take away for dinner (another traditional thing that we used to do in our student days) and ended up spending a nice evening with his family.
Noisy GPS data because I had left the XGPS160 at home.
Took the 6:29 train to Amsterdam.
No rowing training but something that may come in useful in rowing as well. For a change I can write about my business trip. This day I was in a coaching training at Honeywell in Amsterdam. The training was given by Inside Out, and it was excellent. Their founder is a tennis coach, and the guy who was training us was a qualified ski coach. So of course I chatted with him about coaching and self coaching in sports. It was very energizing.
A very simple thing that works is to write down after each session what worked, what didn’t work and what you would do differently next time. May try to implement it in my blogs.
At the end of the day I took the 8pm flight to Vienna and the take off from Amsterdam was great. The weather was very clear and beautiful, the plane flew right over the area where I grew up and of course with my seat nr 6A I had a fantastic view of Amsterdam, Diemen, Weesp, Naarden, the IJmeer, Gooimeer, IJsselmeer, all the way up to the Noord Holland and the Wadden Sea. An unexpected present.
The view was something like this, but much more beautiful:
Arrived home at midnight.
Now I need to pack for three days of racing and drive to Piestany.
May 4 2015
But back to the story. On Sunday evening, after we had finished watching a film on DVD, I made the mistake to check my email. I shouldn’t have done that. Why do I make the same mistake over and over?
There was an email about next week, telling me the club had signed me up for
– Masters Single
– Open category quad
– Open category eight
Damn! Looking at the program the open quad is less than 2 hours before my single race. I cannot do a full out 2k, then a full out 1k in the single a few hours later. Also, my idea of the weekend was to enjoy watching the races. Do the masters quad on Saturday, the master single on Sunday, but mainly watch my children race. Now I would be zipping up and down the race course trying to be in time for the start and I would miss all the youth action.
I did send out a few quite bitchy emails.
Things got worse.
I am usually a bit grumpy getting up at 5:30 to row at 6, but this time I was really in a foul mood. Seeing the mist on the lake didn’t really help, but at least the water would be perfectly flat.
It was even to be worse.
Arriving at the rowing club, I noticed a text message from my double partner that he was sick. The message was sent at 5:30, but my phone is on night mode so I didn’t register the message.
With my single already prepared for transport (because I will be out on business travel for the rest of the week), I had nothing to row on and would be stuck to the erg.
Eda arrived and I started discussing how he could have put me in a Men’s quad and eight without even consulting me.
Turns out it was supposed to be a Masters quad and a Masters eight, both rowed on Saturday, while my single race is on Sunday. Today they will correct the registration.
He also allowed me to row in his single Liduška, so all was good. This single is built for 95kg, so a little big, but with the flat water it wouldn’t be too much of a problem.
It was really low visibility today. Rowing on the Albano, I could see 5 buoys behind me, so that is 50m, not more. In the middle of the lake I couldn’t see any of the banks. Just rowing in white milk. There was no other traffic on the lake at this early hour, and the double and I decided to row the same workout next to each other to avoid any collisions.
The workout was 20 strokes “on”, 20 strokes “off”.
In the first half, from Rokle to Sirka, I kept the stroke rate “low” (30-31spm) and tried to work on sending the boat. I think that worked out pretty well. The double was slightly faster than I but in the 20 strokes they never gained more than 1 boat length. I used the 20 stroke breaks to get back next to them.
Turning, and some rest. Now, I thought, they will let the dogs out.
And they did. But I had positioned myself half a boat length ahead of them and was able to counter their 36-37spm bursts, first doing my own 34spm, but as the end of the workout was nearing I had to go up.
I did see 40spm on CrewNerd. And I did see a consistent 10 stroke interval of 1:44s. Happy with that. I think I had to work harder than the double but I was able to match their speed. A good training to rate up.
No detailed statistics today. We were rowing this on stroke count rather than on time and I don’t know how to get that from CrewNerd.